Moderna may have a Sandy Springs address, but it’s located closer to Roswell. The clubby new taqueria in a remodeled shopping center storefront on Roswell Road stands out from the nearby chains and sports bars with a sleek postmodern facade befitting its name.
The look: Despite its proximity to the parking lot, the front patio manages to conjure something of South Beach. Ditto the off-white and aqua blue color scheme, inside, accented with reclaimed materials. The open, lounge-like dining room is divided into sections by a serpentine bar, tables in various configurations, and gauze curtain-enclosed booths. A towering DJ booth resembles a pulpit.
The scene: Early one Saturday evening, the crowd was surprisingly diverse. On the patio, young couples and small groups sipped margaritas and munched chips and salsa. In the dining room, middle-aged couples gathered for dinner, while at the bar men in business-casual attire ordered cocktails and settled in to watch golf on a pair of big-screen TVs.
The menu: Chef Ignacio “Nacho” Barquera describes his offerings as a twist on the street food he grew up around in Mexico City. But beyond an assortment of tacos ($3-4), quesadillas and enchiladas ($7-$10), there’s the likes of the Moderna Salad ($7-$10) a composition loaded with greens and veggies, plus pepitas, black beans, masa croutons, and a choice of tofu, chicken, steak, shrimp or salmon. A hearty Mexican-style sandwich in a bolillo ($9) is stuffed with slow-roasted brisket, avocados, tomatoes, jalapenos, chorizo, and refried beans.
The drinks: The bar menu features specialty cocktails, sangria, and a substantial list of tequila, along with mezcal, stotol, vodka, rum and whiskey. The recent draft beer list ($5-$6) included Terrapin Hopsecutioner, Bell’s Two Hearted Ale and Heavy Seas Loose Cannon.
The extras: Entertainment includes guest DJs, movie screenings, and special events. In celebration of Cinco de Mayo, Cinco Cabana, May 4-5, is an outdoor festival with live music and a beach party atmosphere. Free 1-10 p.m.; $10 after 10 p.m.
Moderna, Sandy Springs
11 a.m.-11 p.m. Tuesdays-Sundays.
Starters, $3-$7; soups and salads, $5-$10; quesadillas and enchiladas, $7-$10; tacos, $3-$4; mains, $9-$12; sides, $2. desserts, $4.
8540 Roswell Rd, Sandy Springs, 770-557-0945, www.modernaatl.com.